Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History! With the start of the 2020 season delayed for the foreseeable future, the Pinstripe Alley team decided to revive the program in a slightly different format. These daily posts will highlight a few key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
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This Day in Yankees History (April 20)
108 years ago
Historic Fenway Park opened its doors 108 years ago today, featuring a matchup between the Red Sox and the New York Highlanders, the predecessors to the Yankees. The game was played in front of over 27,000 people, and lasted 11 innings before Red Sox legend Tris Speaker walked it off with an RBI single. The Red Sox took the game 7-6 in what was the first of many classic Sox-Yankees games at Fenway.
81 years ago
The Yankees and Red Sox opened their season 81 years ago at Yankee Stadium, a contest notable for the debut of the legendary Ted Williams. Williams went 1-4 in the only game played that featured both Williams and Lou Gehrig. Bill Dickey blasted a home run and Red Ruffing hurled a complete game shutout in the 2-0 Yankees victory.
13 years ago
Man, what is it about April 20 and memories against the Red Sox? 2007 was probably Alex Rodriguez’s best individual season, and he started things off on a tear. Rodriguez hit two home runs in a 7-6 loss at Fenway, but became just the second player in league history to hit 12 home runs in his first 15 games, along with Mike Schmidt in 1976.
8 years ago
The Yankees and Red Sox christened Fenway Park on this day in 1912, and they celebrated the quirky park’s centennial in 2012. Both teams wore retro uniforms (which I loved the look of), and the Yankees beat the Sox 6-2 on their park’s celebration day, thanks in part to five home runs. Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez (twice) went deep, and Ivan Nova picked up the win, his 15th straight dating back to the previous season.
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We wish a happy birthday to Yankees legend, Don Mattingly! Donnie Baseball turns 59 today, and remains one of the most consistent and talented hitters in Yankees history. We also would like to say happy birthday to current Yankees backstop Kyle Higashioka, who turns 30 today. Higgy has been with the Yankees organization for 13 years, with the first 10 spent grinding through the minors. It took a long time for Higashioka to make it to the bigs, but his perseverance has endeared him to the club, who looked to give Higashioka his first Opening Day roster spot in 2020.
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We thank Baseball-Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.